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Neighbors want more action on dangerous south side intersection

Posted at 6:58 PM, Oct 04, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — Residents in one south side neighborhood of Indianapolis want more action from the city when it comes to a dangerous intersection.

The corner of Bluff Road and Edgewood Avenue sits at the bottom of a hill, making it hard for drivers to see oncoming stop lights causing frequent collisions.

"We have lived here a long time and seen a lot of accidents,” said Donna Bullock, who lives at the corner of Bluff and Edgewood.

Bullock’s home has served as a safe haven to more than a dozen drivers as they have waited for tow trucks or first responders to arrive after being involved in accidents at the intersection. Bullock’s neighbor has even captured several crashes on video on his home security camera. She says that is just a fraction of the amount that happens in the area.

“It’s very dangerous. Multiple accidents we’ve witnessed or heard the screeching of the brakes and crashing into trees and fences. You can count it probably once a week or more," Bullock said.

The neighbors across the street from Bullock don’t even bother to fix their fence anymore, since it’s been barreled through by drivers so many times.

One of the crashes at the intersection involved Dave Rush, who drives through the area to and from work every day.

“The light turned yellow, I needed to get through the light and as I went through a girl made a left turn into me on my motorcycle,” Rush explained.

That was back in July. He was OK, but after his accident and sitting through daily backups, he decided to take a look at what was causing all of these problems.

“Well, the issues are manifold. A very short cycle time on the light, it’s right at 10 seconds for the east to west traffic,” Rush said.

The short light causes cars to back up right up a hill. Oncoming drivers on the other side of the hill cannot see that there is a stoplight, or stalled traffic ahead until it’s too late.

“If it’s dark or the road is wet and you cross the apex of the hill into traffic that is stopped it’s inevitably a crash with the fence across the street, the tree across the street, or the car that you run into,” Rush said.

“They need to be able to see that there is a light. I think that would help a lot,” Bullock added.

The short light also causes short patience during rush hour. Bullock and Rush both have watched drivers take the risk of driving through the intersection after the light has turned red.

“Trust me, once you sat through nine light-cycles you are pretty frustrated about getting through,” said Rush.

Rush added that it feels like there are a few easy ways to fix the dangerous intersection.

“Change the timing to 20 seconds this way, 50 seconds on Bluff Road, and allow for more time for traffic to get through the intersection,” Rush suggested.

He would also like signage added to the other side of the hill approaching the area to warn drivers of the upcoming stoplight. There is one sign on the road, but right now it is hard to see because of overgrown tree branches.

Rush wants the city to send someone out and trim the tree branches out of the way so that the sign can be seen and the stoplight can be seen more easily.

He contacted the Mayor’s Action Center and filed three complaints. Two were for the timing of the stoplight and a third was for obstructed view.

WRTV reached out to the city to find out where they were in the process of getting to these complaints. According to the city’s traffic engineering team, during peak hours the signal favors Bluff Road which has heavier traffic to and from downtown, which is similar timing to many corridors for commuting traffic.

A city representative explained how this timing is only during peak hours. There is different timing in place, though, during off-peak hours that gives more time to east and west traffic.

A city representative also told WRTV regarding Rush’s complaints that two of the three were addressed. A signal technician was dispatched to the area an hour after Rush’s complaint was submitted. That signal technician determined the controller was operating as programmed and closed the complaints. The city’s traffic engineers agree with the assessment of the signal technician and do not recommend a change.

The third complaint, regarding the obstructed view of the stoplight, is currently open and the city’s traffic engineering team is reviewing the issue to see if advanced warning signs are needed in the area.

Rush feels that if changes are not implemented of some kind, this intersection may become deadly.

“Someone will eventually get killed here. Someone will come over that hill too fast in the dark in the wet, get rear-ended, and kill one or two or three people,” he said.

Watch the video in the player above to learn more.